Happy Thursday to you, my friends! Were you aware that this weekend we begin the third month of 2015? Where-oh-where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas.
That being said, today, I’m revisiting something that I originally wrote several months ago as a guest post on Heather’s blog. It’s important stuff, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this with all of you here on A Lady Goes West with some additional tips thrown in.
You see, people ask me all the time what they should do to be healthy and get in better shape. And while I certainly don’t have all the answers, I do have a good bit of experience in this whole health and fitness world. While everybody has a different situation and different goals, there are a few things that will certainly derail your plans. And they look like this …
The top five health and fitness mistakes people make
1. Being a slave to cardio. I can’t tell you how many girls I see on a regular basis, come into the gym in a cute outfit, bounce on the elliptical with a magazine, and hit the showers after they’ve done their requisite 30 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, any bit of movement is great, and it’s awesome that you have the motivation to go to the gym for a workout, but you’ve also got to try using some weights, resistance bands or even the yellow-and-black TRX contraption to build strength. Lifting things is good for you, and no you won’t bulk up. Muscle helps you look lean, and it also helps you burn more calories throughout the day. For the girls and the guys, please pick up some weights! You can even do it in your own home, but lift things. (And yes, you still need to do cardio each week, but make it a part of a well-balanced workout routine, which includes resistance training.)
2. Not eating breakfast. There have been a few studies lately claiming it’s totally okay to skip breakfast. But I disagree. In working with clients in the gym, those who have something in their stomach before a morning workout perform much better than those who don’t. And in the working world, I’ve seen people who are much more focused and energized once they’ve eaten their first meal of the day, than they were when running on fumes. You need food. So eat a good breakfast to start your day off right. While there are some benefits to doing “fasted-cardio” in the mornings, I wholeheartedly believe that you work harder and perform better when you’ve got something in your belly to power you through. Not to mention, if you are completely ravenous come lunch-time because you haven’t eaten yet in the day, you’re bound to make less-than-healthy choices. Personally, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Check out these protein overnight oats or this quick five-minute protein pancake if you need some inspiration.
3. Getting too comfortable in a routine. If you can do your workout routine without breaking a sweat because you’re so familiar with it, that’s a problem. Our bodies love variety. And when you have to work in new ways or try hard at new things, you’ll reap the benefits. Don’t be scared to try a new group fitness class, do a new workout at home via a streaming service online or invite a friend to go for a bike ride, if you usually just walk. Changing things up is nothing but a benefit to you. And you may even discover something that you didn’t even know you’d like. If you read my weekly workout recaps each Monday, then you know I applaud myself when I get out of my comfort zone. For instance, last week I took my first cycling class in months. While it wasn’t easy for me, it was good for me.
4. Relying on take-out food. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where there is truly a restaurant on every corner, under every building and on every block. In bigger cities like mine, I see people relying on take-out food for most of their meals. In fact, I’ve had clients who eat all of their meals out and have no food in their fridge. While there are plenty of healthy options available in San Francisco, I know that’s not the case everywhere. In fact, you can’t be totally sure how your food is cooked, unless you make it yourself. Yes, it’s totally fine to go out to lunch here-and-there, enjoy some take-out when you need it and dine out on the weekends. But don’t be scared to buy a few things and make a couple of meals at home, or pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand during your work-day. I take comfort in knowing what’s in my food, and I only eat take-out or restaurant meals on the weekends. Food prep comes in handy if you lead a busy life. Try making a bunch of food on Sunday, so you have healthy options on hand.
5. Not drinking enough water. I’d like to think that most of our problems can be solved by drinking more water. You don’t know how many clients I’ve had swear that they drink plenty of water. By plenty, they mean they finish one small bottle throughout the day. That’s not enough, folks. Chug your water! Tea counts, coconut water and sparkling water counts as well. If you have trouble drinking water because it’s boring, try adding in some cucumber for a little flavor. If you drink more water, your muscles will be more hydrated, your limbs more flexible, your mind clearer, your skin fresher and your body will perform more optimally. Just do it. And hey, check out the review and giveaway I wrote yesterday about some delicious coconut water, which will give you some extra electrolytes as well.
So there you go. Nobody is perfect. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we have. And therefore, I encourage you to keep moving around with variety, cook some food at home, drink plenty of water and heck, be a nice person while you’re at it.
Questions of the day
What is the best health and fitness advice you’ve ever heard?
What’s your favorite healthy recipe for breakfast?
Do you have anything fun planned for today?